Written by a friend

(Verbal bullying is a real issue, and needs to be stamped down)
Do you remember how you ran to your mother/teacher with tears streaming down your eyes just because someone called you by an insulting name? It hurt all the more when the insult was due to something that you couldn’t help. Maybe it was being too tall/fat/smart or even having to wear spectacles.
Maybe you have heard the saying that when you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back at you. Yes, pejoratives are disconcerting on both ends. And that is why, calling people belonging to different races with derogatory names, is just so wrong.
A blog post I read recently confirmed my view. According to it, “Most pejoratives have origins in completely acceptable descriptive words. ‘Negro’ comes from the Latin ‘Niger‘ which means black, ‘Paki’ is shortened from ‘Pakistani’… They get their pejorative connotations after being repeatedly used in an insulting manner. Other names originate directly from a desire to put down and insult, but the word ‘Hambaya’ belongs to the former category.”
The author goes on to describe how the word ‘Hambaya’ originated from the word “sampan”, a flat bottomed boat used by early Muslim traders. What is more interesting is the occurrence of this pejorative in a major city in Sri Lanka… If you haven’t guessed it already, it is Hambantota, described by the author as “what will probably soon be Sri Lanka’s on-paper capital”
A slight reminder for all of us to “mind our language”.

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